This year’s programme promises a wealth of violin repertoire across several new locations 

BBC Proms 2023_Pink to Orange (16 to 9)

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The 2023 BBC Proms has been announced. A total of 3,000 musicians will take part in 84 concerts across the Royal Albert Hall, Sage Gateshead, Perth, Cornwall, Dewsbury, Aberystwyth and Great Yarmouth. 

‘There is no other classical music festival in the world to match the range and breadth of the BBC Proms,’ says David Pickard, director of the BBC Proms. ‘Our musical range in 2023 extends from Bach to Bollywood and geographically from Gateshead to Great Yarmouth as we continue to build on Henry Wood’s vision of “the best of classical music for the widest possible audience”.’ 

Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto will be the first of ten violinists to perform concertos on the Royal Albert Hall stage. In the first of two performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons this summer, Kuusisto will perform his interpretation of the work, interspersed with folk music improvisations. British violinist Thomas Gould will then perform Max Richter’s Recomposed: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons with the Britten Sinfonia in August.

‘The first time I played it, it took some getting used to,’ Gould tells the BBC. ‘Max has left some of Vivaldi’s movements virtually untouched but changed others almost beyond recognition.’  

The Proms will mark several anniversaries throughout the programme, including the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninoff’s birth and 100 years since the death of Dora Pejačević. Prom 47 will mark the 100th anniversary of György Ligeti’s birth with violinist Isabelle Faust performing his Concert Românesc and Violin Concerto with French orchestra Les Siècles.

BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artist Geneva Lewis will make her Proms debut on 8 August with Grace Williams’s Violin Concerto. The New England Conservatory alumna, who is currently performing on a c.1766 Guadagnini, will be performing the concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Jaime Martín.  

This year’s programme also includes perennial favourites with violin concertos by Tchaikovsky, Walton and Elgar. Elena Urioste will be performing Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto on 19 July, a concerto she has recently recorded and performed with the Chineke! Orchestra. ‘It is one of the most emotionally direct, sumptuous and romantic works I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing,’ she tells the BBC. ‘It absolutely belongs in the same league as the Bruch or Mendelssohn concertos.  

In the ‘Proms at’ chamber concerts, Laura van der Heijden will perform a programme of Rachmaninoff, Pejačević and Lara Weaver. In Perth, the Heath Quartet will join pianist Steven Osborne for Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor and Tippett’s Piano Sonata no.2. 

As the only cello soloist performing on the main Royal Albert Hall stage this year, Sheku Kanneh-Mason will join soprano Lise Davidsen and conductor Marin Alsop for the Last Night of the Proms.  

General booking opens at 9am on Saturday 13 May here. Every Prom will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and 24 Proms will be broadcast on BBC Television and iPlayer.  

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